SAP launched SAP Business AI and said it will embed generative AI throughout its applications as it made the case that enterprises should trust the ERP giant with making business processes more efficient.

Speaking at SAP Sapphire in Orlando, CEO Christian Klein said SAP's mission is to make businesses more agile with generative AI as well as process mining and other tools. "No company can afford to run in silos," said Klein. "Back to standard is key to continuous integration and improvement." SAP's main pitch to CEOs, CFOs and CIOs is to integrate into SAP's portfolio and standardize on its data model. 

The software giant outlined 15 new business AI capabilities and use cases while touting customers such as Unilever and Pfizer and partners such as Google Cloud and Microsoft.

"AI will have a tremendous impact on our private and business lives," said Klein, who made the case that AI embedded in the SAP platform will increase productivity and change the way people work. "Our software will be able to answer any business related question and show you how to improve."

In the big picture, SAP is combining generative AI and large language models (LLMs) with its business process knowhow as it aims to make the case that its ERP base is the business performance management platform. SAP's reach is extensive when it comes to business processes. For instance, SAP announced generative AI plans to address multiple use cases including job description and interview question generation via SAP Success Factors, a digital assistant for CX and SAP Signavio Process Manager with process model generation and documentation.

Other use cases for SAP Business AI included finance, sustainability, transportation, warehouse management and procurement as well as sales order auto-completion in SAP S/4HANA Cloud.

The barrage of news from SAP landed a day after it extended a partnership with Microsoft. The two companies will integrate SAP SuccessFactors applications with Microsoft 365 Copilot and Copilot in Viva Learning along with Microsoft's Azure OpenAI Service. SAP has also formed partnerships with Databricks and Data Robot as well as Google Cloud integrations for SAP Datasphere. SeeBusiness process automation platform debate about to heat up

Constellation Research analyst Doug Henschen said:

"Staying out of the LLM game is a practical and realistic approach, and one that competitors including Salesforce are also following.  SAP delivers what it’s calling “Business AI” by using its intimate knowledge of business processes to apply the AI tech in intelligent, value-driving ways."

Among the announcements:

  • SAP Extended Warehouse Management is getting intelligent slotting capability that uses AI to suggest how to optimize warehouse organization as well as stock and replenishment processes.
  • SAP Transportation Management application will get SAP's document processing with generative AI. Generative AI will be used to automate manual checks of goods, receipts and delivery notes. This capability will be available in the fourth quarter.
  • SAP Business Network will embed AI with intelligent invoice conversion to make it easier for procurement teams to add new suppliers, extract data from invoices and map data. SAP Ariba Buying will also get AI to simplify processes.
  • SAP Customer experience will get SAP Digital Assistant, currently in alpha, to use generative AI to provide sellers and support teams insights.
  • SAP S/4 HANA Cloud will get built-in-support with live recommendations from SAP support teams and enhanced by AI. This feature is expected in May to July as it rolls out across the product line.
  • SAP Signavio Process Manager will use generative AI to identify recommended process models and KPIs. Availability will be later this year.
  • SAP Predictive Replenishment will use AI to calculate and order products automatically to optimize inventory levels and availability for retailers. SAP Intelligent Product Recommendation will be aimed at manufacturing customers to streamline quotes, opportunities and orders.
  • SAP SuccessFactors will use AI to improve talent intelligence and provide a consolidated view of skills, cost and availability across an enterprises workforce.
  • SAP announced an update to SAP Sustainability Footprint Management for carbon tracking and the SAP Sustainability Data Exchange, which will enable partners to exchange standardized sustainability data.
  • SAP Business Network buyers will be able to select vendors based on sustainability ratings via a partnership with EcoVadis.
  • SAP Business Network will add supplier insights as well as streamlined integration, marketplace catalogs, lead matching and enhanced company profiles. Henschen said SAP's sustainability efforts mark "good progress on improving the fidelity of sustainability data to match that of financial data." He added:
  • "It’s not just about reporting. Also required is planning and scenario-modeling capabilities that take into account dynamic and changing conditions. If companies are to make and keep carbon-reduction targets, they need to be able to look at the costs and business impacts of traditional energy and sourcing choices versus various alternatives."
  • SAP Business Network for Industry are prepackaged packs focused on supply chain collaboration use cases starting with industry and implementation best practices. The first rollout is focused on high tech, industrial manufacturing, CPG and life sciences. SAP CX will also get accelerators to help retail, CPG, automotive and utilities industries to improve experiences.
  • Taulia, a working capital management software provider acquired by SAP, is now integrated into SAP Business Network.
  • SAP Category Management will be available in August 2023 and include procurement pros with market and commodity intelligence, category management and insights for strategy as well as potential supply chain issues.
  • SAP Blockchain Business Connector, which features smart contract management and automated workflows, will launch in beta.
  • A series of integrations across SAP applications focused on processes including quote to cash, consumption revenue management, Signavio Process Explorer and other areas.